DHARMA AND MANAGEMENT
Management experts are now in a great haste to give shape to a new concept of management, having realized that both capitalism and communism have failed all over the world. With this in view they are earnestly looking towards India. Their aim is to develop a Management Science founded on Dharma (righteousness)- Dharmic Way of Management. In order to give shape to such a concept of Management, let us consider what contribution can be had from Sree Narayana Guru’s teachings.
Though at the time of the French Revolution, the slogans, Equality, Liberty and Fraternity echoed across the world, the capitalist countries are now witnessing everyday, a departure from these principles. The nations which hoped to create a beautiful world of equality, through Communism have given up that dream. Even there, the people could see the existence of dictatorship of the labour leaders, which could put even Hitler to shame. The need or expectations of the people was not dictatorship. Therefore they detested communism. Now they are in hunt for a new philosophy based on which they can develop new tenets of Management.
When one turns towards the teachings of Gurudeva, we can see that he had a vision. This vision is Advaita (nonduality). There is also Dharma (righteous actions) shaped from this vision. This Dharma is known as Sree Narayana Dharma. We may call this Dharma as the Guru’s Humanism.
Though, Adisankara, wrote commentaries extensively on Advaita, he did not propound, a Dharma-sastra (code of conduct for righteous living). But the Gurudeva not only give life and form to the Truth of Advaita, but also advice; how one should conduct hi life according to this Truth, and for that purpose, codify a Dharma-sastra (code of conduct and behaviour). Only with this, the principles of Advaita started to percolate down to a practical level. In other words Sree Narayana Dharma is a collection of practical codes for social conduct of the common man.
On the basis of the Dharma-sastra, each one has his actions to perform or duties to fulfill. You should lead a life understanding one’s Dharma (duties). Karma-marga (the path of worshipful action) teaches this. Since one of the noble aims of life is liberation (from births and deaths) all actions should be selfless in nature. This is what the scriptures proclaim.
According to Sree Narayana Guru, all people are brothers-in-Atman. Grouping or classifying people on the basis of caste, religion, political leanings and wealth is against Dharma. Since all are soul-brothers, the Guru advices that one should live performing actions such that ‘what each performs for the happiness of the Self, should be conducive to the happiness of others’.
The class distinction between workers and owners does not exist in Guru’s Dharma, According to Gurudeva all are striving to make a living. This concept is explained in Atmopadesa-satakam (stanza-49).
‘Every man makes effort in everyway, all the time, for the happiness of the Self. Therefore in this world, know this as one faith. Understanding thus and without becoming subjected to sin, the inner self should be merged’
In other words a management theory based on Sree Narayana Dharma, does not have two classes namely, workers and entrepreneurs Therefore, there is no need for class rivalry. Both workers and owners belong to the ‘worker’ family. Some of them do physical work and others work with their brains. An institution or industry can flourish only with the joint efforts of these people. If people form groups and fight with each other, the organization will have to close down. Destroying each other or an organization, by class wars can never be termed as Dharma. Sanjay’s observation in Gita (18-78) is worth recalling at this juncture:
‘Wherever, Partha (Arjuna), the wielder of the bow (representing physical prowess), and wherever Lord Krishna (the Lord of Yoga-representing brain power) exist together, there, prosperity, victory, expansion and sound policies are assured’.
A person in search of a job, needs someone who can offer him one. Similarly, a person who is willing to invest money in a commercial venture, requires skilled workers. When both need and depend on each other, how can there be class wars or enemity. It is here the relevance and role of Dharma. Every citizen, whether he be a worker or an owner, needs to have a sense of responsibility. Further, they should be able to discriminate between right and wrong, and avoid wrong actions.
In a Management theory or science, based on Dharmic principles there is no room for exploitation because a righteous mind never thinks of exploiting anyone. Only crooked minds exploit others. Such minds are a curse on the society. Ultimately they turn in to dacoits, thieves and murderers. It is the duty of the ruling authorities to identify such individuals and punish them according to the law of the land.
From a Dharmic view, a worker who does not perform his duties, has no right to wages. Today, in many government organizations and Public Sector Units, people earn their wages, without performing his allotted duties. It is an exploitation of the person who provides him the wages. In a democratic country like India, many government staff get their salaries from the taxes levied on the public, some of who cannot even afford to buy their rations. Every officer or staff member, who receives his remuneration without properly carrying out his duties, is an exploiter of the starving workers, in our poverty-ridden country.
Exploitation is not part of the Indian view of life. The Indian ethos teaches Dohanam (like milking a cow after properly feeding the cow and it’s calf) instead of exploitation. It is like feeding the cow, it’s calf, and then taking the milk for personal use. If the cow is not fed well, and the calf is not allowed to feed from it’s mother, and all the milk is taken by the owner, it is exploitation. At first, the calf dies; then the cow. Finally the owner may also die, having no means to support. In Dohanam, there is no thought of exploitation. Therefore, he prospers. After three years the calf also becomes a cow. Surely, Dohanam is the only way for progress and prosperity.
Although selfless action is recommended for those whose goal is ultimate Liberation (Moksha), the common man does not live only with liberation as his aim in life. Therefore selfless actions may not be suitable for him. It is desirable for such people to perform lawful actions and duties, and receive lawfully entitled wages. Further, other religious groups, and those who do not accept the Indian view of Dharma, are likely to exploit such people who are willing to work without expecting rewards. Therefore, in the case of householder, to act with a mental attitude that he is not performing actions and not expecting rewards, is required only after he completes his duties as a householder, and decides to become a recluse. In order to fulfill his duties as a householder, he requires money. Therefore he has to progress on the basis of the dharmic principle, which says ’earn lawful wages doing lawful actions (duties)’.
Whether, it is a worker or owner, both are bound to make their living based on Dharma. A worker’s dharma is to perform his lawful duties without cheating, and with a sincere heart. A worker or owner, who does not perform his Dharma, will suffer loss of his wealth and good name, over a period of time. The Gurudeva has said that Dharma is God.
‘Dharma alone is the transcendental God.
Dharma alone is infinite wealth.
Dharma alone becomes victorious
Let Dharma lead to the prosperity of all
Man reaps what he sows. If he sows ‘good’ he can reap ‘good’. One who sows virtues will reap virtues and one who sows non-mutable activities reaps non-mutable results. This is the Law of Karma, and the Law is immutable. This is a concept, generally accepted by all religions. Every thought, word and action of man must be Dharmic in nature. He is also bound to obtain the rewards there of. On examination of the sacred scriptures (puranas or epics), we can see that even the incarnations of God were subjected to the consequences of their actions. Therefore every citizen has to ensure that he sows the righteous actions and not wrong actions. The result of bad deeds is one’s destruction. This has been clarified by the Gurudeva in Atmopadesa-satakam (stanza-25.)
‘Remember an action good for one person and brings misery to another is opposed to the Self. Those who give great suffering to another will fall in to the burning sea of hell and perish’.
A system of management based on Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truth), Astheya (non-stealing), Avyabhichara (unadultery) and Madya-varjana (abstinence from intoxicants) will surely be laudable and prosperous. That will lead individuals, families and the country towards greater progress. Where people who are prepared to live by doing the right things and avoid wrong deeds, that place will become a Dharma Rajayam (Rama Rajyam)- or a country of Righteousness.